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Need help with a small form-factor build!

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March 30, 2012 10:24:01 PM

Hello my fellow PC gamers, I'm Willian
This is my first post so I'll try to stick to the tables (:

System Usage from Most to Least Important: web surfing (mostly HD videos), gaming, work.
Parts Not Required: Mouse, Keyboard, Gamepad, peripherals.

Okay, let's move on to what I currently have on my rig:

Gigabyte P55 UD3P socket 1156 motherboard
Intel i5 750 (yeah, the first batchof i5s :p ) 4-core processor
2x500GB 7200RPM Seagate Barracuda hard drive
Gigabyte ATI Radeon HD5770 1GB graphics card
2x4GB Ripjaws 1600 mhz (:
a CoolerMaster 500w power source

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What I'd like to have in the near future: An Intel SSD and a GTX560Ti 448cores!

So having that said, let's move on to my intentions :D 
I .. want to build up a very portable gaming rig. Yes I know I probably won't find something as slim as the Alienware x51, but I want to find something very close to that! I travel a lot back to my hometown (Trujillo) from time to time and the only thing I can take is my laptop and my 3DS, and my laptop over-heats with League of Legends =(

I've been away from the PC race for over 2 years (since I bought my first PC), and have no idea whatsoever about these form-factors. I know something called miniITX (?) exists, as well as microATX. I hope you guys don't find that annoying or bad, but I'm being totally honest: I have no idea how or what is needed to build a smaller PC, all I know is how to use your regular tower case.

So as a little summary: I need help building a very small and compact gaming rig, preferably with some of my current components. And of course, I don't want to spend $400+ without the new graphics card, so a range of $250-$350 would be cool.

Sorry for the long post, but as a non-native speaker I still find it hard to express myself with few words :pt1cable: 



More about : small form factor build

March 30, 2012 11:24:42 PM

Quote:
Gigabyte P55 UD3P socket 1156 motherboard
Intel i5 750 (yeah, the first batchof i5s :p ) 4-core processor
2x500GB 7200RPM Seagate Barracuda hard drive
Gigabyte ATI Radeon HD5770 1GB graphics card
2x4GB Ripjaws 1600 mhz (:
a CoolerMaster 500w power source

This with a new GPU will be plenty for games. A lot of Core 2 Quads are still in use since the GPU takes most of the hit in games.

Quote:
What I'd like to have in the near future: An Intel SSD and a GTX560Ti 448cores!

Take a look at AMD's offerings. Their 78xx series is well priced for the performance you get.

Quote:
I .. want to build up a very portable gaming rig. Yes I know I probably won't find something as slim as the Alienware x51, but I want to find something very close to that!

Nothing can beat the X51 in terms of form factor, but you don't get a great GPU from the Alienware (since it's using a mobile chipset).

Quote:
I've been away from the PC race for over 2 years (since I bought my first PC), and have no idea whatsoever about these form-factors. I know something called miniITX (?) exists, as well as microATX.

For the smallest PC, you'll want a miniITX rig. MicroATX is a bit bigger but you get added expansion slots for more GPUs. However you will be able to fit a single good GPU on an ITX board.

My suggestions:

1) Go for a miniITX motherboard that uses the 1156 socket. This is the only one listed on Newegg, and it'll work with your RAM, and has a built-in Wifi module. ($130)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2) Get a case. You'll want about 500W from your PSU, so your existing PSU will be fine. You just need a mITX case that can hold an ATX size PSU.
This case is almost perfect - holds 2 3.5" HDDs and can handle ATX PSUs. I think it can handle the GPU, but it doesn't say.
Otherwise there are several other cases from Lian Li and Silverstone that are great for mITX builds with ATX components.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

3) SSD - The Intel 320 is a great drive. You can get an 80GB for $134.99 or a 120GB for $174.99

4) The 560Ti 448 runs about $250 but there are some rebates too. I recommend a good brand like EVGA, Asus, or MSI (in that order). Keep in mind your 500W PSU will probably be enough to run the GPU but won't be healthy for overclocks.

So in total:
Mobo - $130
Case - ~$70
SSD - $135
GPU - $250

Total - $585

You might be able to save if you can find some parts used local or online. Also, MicroATX boards are generally cheaper than mITX simply because it costs more to make it smaller. That would mean you could spend less on the board as well.

You can get a Crucial M4 64GB SSD (a great drive and very reliable) for only $95, and 64GB will be enough to hold the OS and a bit extra
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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March 30, 2012 11:27:30 PM

For a very compact rig, you are looking at a ITX sized motherboard. 9" x 9"

I can find only one 1156 ITX motherboard for $129:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you will substitute a ivy bridge cpu, there are several 1155 motherboards which cost <$50.
A G860 at $100 turns out to be a capable gamer.
Read this tom's article:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-fx-pentium-a...

With a GTX560ti 448, you are looking at a graphics card of about 230mm. or about 9". It will not fit in the smallest of cases.

The Lian li Q08 can handle 240mm, and is made of aluminum. It is 13.60" x 8.90" x 10.70" and weighs about 6 pounds.
Much smaller than that, You are looking at a laptop.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The Q08 can handle several hard drives, including a SSD. If the psu is overly long, the hard drive cage can be removed, so check that out.
There are several forums on building gaming rigs with the q08.
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March 31, 2012 12:05:50 AM

Woops, I forgot something guys! My i5 has an after-stock cooler!
I'm using it because my stock fan died out and the temperatures went up quite a bit :/  I forgot since it gives me no trouble on my mid-sized tower.

It's the CoolerMaster Hyper TX3.

Looking at that miniITX mobo, it seems (and the possible reason there's only one out there, and from a brand I don't know anything of) it has a 50/50 review rate, with some very interesting flaws pointed out.

@geofelt
Thanks for the tip! It turns out that I just got pretty interested in that CPU, LOL! I have no problem on buying a cheap CPU/Mobo combo if it fits the needs! The components I leave hanging around would make a great start for my Dad's new PC, since I left him with my old lovely Pentium 3 (: using XP.

Would it be a lot of hassle to ask for the specific motherboards available for the 1155 socket at that size?

And damn, that case looks sexy as hell.


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Best solution

March 31, 2012 3:31:48 AM

I have a Q08 sitting behind me. I haven't decided if I will make it a gamer, or just a backup case.
If you want something quite different, it comes in red anodized aluminum. Q08R I love it.

As to what ITX motherboard, it depends on your budget, and how strong your cpu needs to be.
Let me give you three levels:
1) G860 and a H61 based motherboard. This will approximate your i5-750 for gaming, but will not be as strong if you need 4 cores.
If you have a favorite brand, fine. But I think they are all good quality by now. One of the cheapest is foxcon
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I have not used them before, but Intel/asrock/asus/gigabyte are all probably ok.
I have built recently with asrock, asus, and ECS all of which worked fine. Many H61 motherboards may not provide 6gb sata or usb3.0. Certainly not overclocking which you can'r really do without a "K" cpu anyway. The H67 based motherboards may well include 6gb sata and usb3.0. You need to check.
Here is an asrock H67 with both.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2) If your budget can include a 2500K, then you are looking at a Z68 based motherboard which will support "K" overclocking.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

3) Lastly, if you can wait a month for ivy bridge and the 3570K, you can look forward to the Asus p8Z77-I Deluxe:
http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1155/P8Z7...

One needs to use a low profile downdraft type cooler in the Q08 so that the cooler does not impact the psu. The stock intel coolers should do fine since the sandy bridge 32nm cpu's run cooler. Ivy bridge at 22nm should do even better.
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March 31, 2012 5:36:30 PM

My question is why buy a new CPU/mobo for more than just a mobo? The G860 + H61/67 motherboard are going to cost at least $20 more than the 1156 motherboard from Zotac (who actually make decent mITX motherboards), and you're going to take a big performance hit in any multi-core/threaded application.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/109?vs=404

I mean, if the budget allows, go for a new i5, but if you were buying right now this wouldn't make much sense. Plus games rely more on the GPU, so IMO any extra funds should go toward a better GPU.
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April 1, 2012 4:30:51 PM

I think waiting for the new Ivy Bridge would be a nice idea!
I'd rather save some money to get a new graphics card than taking a hit from the CPU side.
I wonder how expensive that Asus p8Z77 mobo is going to be?

Thanks a lot for your ipunt guys, keep em' coming (:
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April 11, 2012 2:17:43 AM

Best answer selected by lagfest7.
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